James Webb Telescope Captures Clearest View of Neptune’s Rings In Decades – Slashdot


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According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope has captured the clearest view of Neptune’s rings in additional than 30 years. From the report: Most putting in Webb’s new picture is the crisp view of the planet’s rings — a few of which haven’t been detected since NASA’s Voyager 2 turned the primary spacecraft to look at Neptune throughout its flyby in 1989. In addition to a number of shiny, slender rings, the Webb picture clearly reveals Neptune’s fainter mud bands. “It has been three decades since we last saw these faint, dusty rings, and this is the first time we’ve seen them in the infrared,” notes Heidi Hammel, a Neptune programs skilled and interdisciplinary scientist for Webb. Webb’s extraordinarily steady and exact picture high quality permits these very faint rings to be detected so near Neptune.

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Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) pictures objects within the near-infrared vary from 0.6 to five microns, so Neptune doesn’t seem blue to Webb. In reality, the methane gasoline so strongly absorbs crimson and infrared gentle that the planet is kind of darkish at these near-infrared wavelengths, besides the place high-altitude clouds are current. Such methane-ice clouds are distinguished as shiny streaks and spots, which mirror daylight earlier than it’s absorbed by methane gasoline. Images from different observatories, together with the Hubble Space Telescope and the WM Keck Observatory, have recorded these quickly evolving cloud options through the years. More subtly, a skinny line of brightness circling the planet’s equator may very well be a visible signature of world atmospheric circulation that powers Neptune’s winds and storms. The environment descends and warms on the equator, and thus glows at infrared wavelengths greater than the encircling, cooler gases.

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Neptune’s 164-year orbit means its northern pole, on the prime of this picture, is simply out of view for astronomers, however the Webb pictures trace at an intriguing brightness in that space. A previously-known vortex on the southern pole is clear in Webb’s view, however for the primary time Webb has revealed a steady band of high-latitude clouds surrounding it. Webb additionally captured seven of Neptune’s 14 recognized moons. Dominating this Webb portrait of Neptune is a really shiny level of sunshine sporting the signature diffraction spikes seen in lots of Webb’s pictures, however this isn’t a star. Rather, that is Neptune’s massive and weird moon, Triton.

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